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Last minute protection.

The moles have started digging tunnels in the front yard as well. Every morning I go out and check to make sure that none of the roses have been dug under or are starting to lean. So far so good...

We had an extra bag of mulch lying around that we bought to winter protect the roses--we got sidetracked by Hurricane Sandy and never got around to finishing the job. This afternoon I finally ripped into it. I'll never feel like I did a good enough job, even though our roses are all cold hardy to at least Zone 5. With only a few exceptions, they're too tall for me to protect their canes to the tips.

Of all the roses left in the bottom-of-the-hill bed, Jude the Obscure has strangely ended up the biggest. We got it as an 11-inch tall gallon in the middle of May and now its tallest cane is 43 inches. I can't think of any explanation for its vigor, other than the fact that we had a very hot summer. We usually get it hot and rainy around here! Madame Hardy is a three cane wonder--two canes are under a foot tall and the one in the center is 45 inches. I get very nervous for her on windy days. I hope she's bendy. Madame Plantier is a little shorter but more well-rounded.

Other larger than expected roses are Griff's Red (started out 15 inches, ended up 45 inches), Enchanted Autumn (started at 14'', ended up 43''), Duchesse de Montebello (started out 10 inches, ended up 32'') and Iobelle (started out as a tiny 9-inch band and is now a 3 foot tall semi-dormant rose chilling in a pot in our unheated foyer). Chapeau de Napoleon started the year with its longest cane at 9'' and now it's 33''.

Poor Marianne came to us as a 22-inch tall gallon, was ripped out of the ground by a mole, potted up and prayed over and now she's steadily leafing out in our foyer, at 28 inches. Better than nothing, right?

The only thing I can say about Felicite Parmentier is that she's still alive. I will give her the benefit of the doubt. I know she has big roots below the surface (we couldn't even dig her up), but her top growth has shrunk from 10'' to 6''. She's like shades of Prairie Sunrise all over again!

I don't know what these roses are going to look like after being battered by snow and wind for several months. It's too early to sing victory for us!

Kristen has finished rerooting Princess Bubblegum with Dollyhair saran in Sherbet Pink and Mauvelous Pink. The blend is really pretty, but I can't show her off yet because she has no face! She'll be going on a trip real soon, mwah hah hah!